We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Albus vertical no 14



Geoff Thornley

New Zealand

1942 –

No image
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Auckland New Zealand
    Media category
    Materials used
    mixed media on paper on canvas
    178.5 x 56.5 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated on brown tape, u. verso stretcher, black crayon? "... 74. Thornley.".

    Gift of Dame Jenny Gibbs 2022
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Geoff Thornley
    Artist information
    Geoff Thornley

    Works in the collection


  • About

    In 1975 Geoff Thornley represented New Zealand at the XIII Bienal de Sao Paulo exhibiting 10 works from his 'Albus' series. Created by an artist still in his early twenties, the 'Albus' works mark the beginning of a career of remarkable focus, commitment and poetic power. At a moment when much New Zealand art was landscape-based, Thornley’s paintings were – and have remained – abstract yet highly evocative. In the 'Albus' series, grid structures sometimes seem to tremble above, and sometimes to lie below, shifting atmospheres of mostly grey and black paint; 'Albus vertical no 14' is unusual for its colouration, suggestive of skin and dawn light. The emphatic verticality of the work further alludes to the body and echoes the viewer’s physical presence in front of the work, while the blotting and washing of colour evokes the movement of weather. Albus is Latin for ‘white’ and is a reference to the white base beneath the painted surface. Across subsequent decades, Thornley worked in a more ‘hard-edged’ idiom, but has more recently returned, for example in his major suite 'Voice of mimesis' 1999-2000 in the Gallery’s collection, to a sense of enigmatic atmosphere that has its origins in this austere yet lyrical early painting.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

Other works by Geoff Thornley